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McGeachin: Out-of-state Little was in ‘violation of the law.’ She also asks about pay

Idaho

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Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin officially announced her candidacy for governor on May 19, 2021, on the Statehouse steps. She challenged the current governor Brad Little and his use of emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic. | BY DARIN OSWALD

BOISE (Idaho Statesman) – Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin is questioning how much she should be getting paid when she’s acting governor, despite having been paid for the role in the past.

In a Friday letter to Alex Adams, head of Gov. Brad Little’s Division of Financial Management, McGeachin asked about the difference in daily salaries between the governor and lieutenant governor positions, citing Idaho code.

“What is the process of determining the pay differential based on the time frame that the governor is out of the state?” McGeachin inquired Friday morning.

McGeachin’s letter came the same day Little returned to Idaho from a trip McGeachin said she was unaware of.

Little left Idaho on Wednesday to attend the America First Policy Institute Gala in Florida, spokesperson Marissa Morrison Hyer said. Little’s Facebook page showed a photo of the governor being recognized by former President Donald Trump.

RELATED | Idaho Lt. Gov. McGeachin issues order terminating public agency mask mandates

He had told McGeachin in late October that she would no longer be asked to step in when he is out of state. The lieutenant governor has a record of signing executive orders and taking action as acting governor that Little then undoes upon his return.

RELATED | McGeachin issues another executive order in Little’s absence, this time for vaccine mandates

“Regardless of his reasons, he left the state of Idaho without a governor for multiple days in direct violation of the law,” McGeachin said.

As governor, Little gets paid $138,302 a year, according to the Idaho State Controller’s Office. McGeachin gets paid $48,406 a year. When McGeachin takes over as acting governor, state law permits acting governor pay in addition to her lieutenant governor’s salary.

McGeachin has been provided acting governor pay in the past — a total of about $9,665 for 288 hours since she took office in 2019, according to records from the Division of Financial Management. Her last acting governor pay was on May 27. For eight hours, she was paid about $285, according to DFM records.

McGeachin’s chief of staff didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday or questions about why she sent the letter. Her inquiry follows ongoing tension between the lieutenant governor and governor’s office, particularly over her past orders.

‘NO NEED’ FOR MCGEACHIN TO BE GOVERNOR WHEN LITTLE IS GONE, HE SAYS

McGeachin, who is running for governor, has signed executive orders, especially on COVID-19 issues, only for Little to rescind them and criticize her for overreach. Little has not formally declared a run in 2022 but has raised nearly $600,000 for a reelection campaign.

McGeachin has not yet been paid for her last stint as acting governor, when she signed an executive order banning so-called vaccine passports and mandatory coronavirus testing in schools. Little, who was visiting the U.S.-Mexico border, reversed the order while he was still in Texas — setting up a legal question about whether he could act as governor while out of state.

On Oct. 29, Little sent McGeachin a letter that informed her she would no longer be asked to act on his behalf when he’s out of state. An analysis by the Idaho Attorney General’s Office stated that “absence from the state” may not alone require that the lieutenant governor steps in, when Little is still able to perform his duties remotely.

“In the event I am ever unable to perform the official duties of governor as may be required due to disability, effective absence, or otherwise, rest assured that my staff will notify your office immediately,” Little wrote to McGeachin on Oct. 29.

“Unless, and until, your office receives such notice, there is neither a need nor authorization for you to act in an acting governor capacity,” citing the Idaho Constitution and state law.

gov brad little oct 29 letter to lt gov janice mcgeachin

READ THE IDAHO ATTORNEY GENERAL’S RESPONSE TO THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE.

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